Letter: Redgrave's greatness overlooked

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The Independent Online
Sir: The British Public are a strange lot. We certainly do not recognise a legend when we see one. In our midst we have an athlete whose endeavours and achievements will never be bettered or even matched by any of his contemporaries in this country in any sport you care to mention. Sixteen years of unparalleled success, consecutive gold medals, an icon within his own sport and a legend in his own lifetime. Not for him the spoils of lucrative sponsorship deals, pounds l0m contracts or even the advantage of family ties. But in their stead an uncompromising commitment to hard work, a burning desire to be and remain the best, and a lifestyle of which many would be surprised, given his stature as an athlete.

One would obviously concede that Formula One motor racing is far more dangerous than rowing, but is it not also true that in rowing there is an almost total absence of good fortune? Other rowers' boats do not crash, break down or run off the track. There is no mechanical advantage of the "best boat''.

There can be no justification for a decision that went to a man [Damon Hill, who won the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year] whose one-off achievements pale into insignificance when placed against an athlete whose victories over sixteen years are as unbelievable as this result. There is only one solution. When Steve Redgrave is approaching the finishing line for his fifth consecutive gold medal at the Sydney Olympics we must ensure that Murray, Walker is commentating.

Yet this colossal achievement will still fail in the eyes of the British public. The reason? Tim Henman would have reached the quarter final at Wimbledon!

D ROSS

Withington, Manchester

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